Sewing Machine Grade Reccomendations

waxwingedfaeAugust 6, 2008

I am new to the world of sewing...well, relatively. I couldn't sew a garment straight away and the terminology is all still Greek to me for the most part. As a child I had a few sewing machines and spent some time using my grandmothers but no significant use.

With that having been said, however, I'm a relatively quick study who is looking to take a class or two on garment construction and I'm relatively sure this is a hobby that will stick to me to some extent. It is, of course, a hobby. My interest would be mostly in the basic napkins-pillowcases-a hem here-a nip there realm save the occasional longer term project of a reproduction dress or a cute, designer-knock-off top that fits properly and pays for the sewing machine in the first use, etc....

So, I come to you for advice.

Of the sewing machines I've used I've discovered that thread that gets constantly jammed and tangled will turn me off of a project faster than anything and if that is going to happen, I may as well throw away the machine. Will a machine with an automatic tension help this? I also know that complicated bobbin loads, while something I will tolerate for a $50 price decrease, are something that I would like to avoid if possible.

Are fabric types something to consider when choosing a sewing machine? For instance, if I know I may want to hem denim, should I be looking for a machine with more power or is that a matter of needle strength? I have surmised that I should be looking for something electric rather than manual and also that I will want to find something with a free arm (though I have no idea what that is)

This machine was reccomended by the singer website's "reccomend a machine" function.

I did, however, find this machine, which is still within my price range (approximately $200-$250) as a refurbished model that has a few more features and seems more in line with the articles I've read.

All in all, I'm looking for some insight.

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I honestly think that these machines are considerably more complicated than you need at this stage of things. For one thing, as a beginner, you don't even know if you will LIKE sewing. I'd recommend that you try to find a good, vintage machine with zig-zag capabilities and get some practice in. I find this sort of machine for $20-100 depending on condition and extras like attachments. I personally sew on nothing but vintage machines and I have a custom quilting business plus sew historical costumes. I have no need for anything more complicated than a straight stitch machine and usually only use my vintage ZZ machine for patching my husband's jeans.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 11:30AM
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You sound similar to me. I have sewn for forty some years but still am a beginner in many senses. Over the years I have done a lot of what I call 'mundane sewing'. Mending, sheets, pillowcases, pjamas, curtains, things for the house and kids. Just now am I working on stuff for myself. I also absolutely hate a machine that jams. It usually is the fault of choosing the wrong needle or lately the wrong thread or tension. For many years i used a NewHome 444 which got me through everything very well. Lately I traded it in for a Janome 4618, probably their simplest machine. I think you might not want to go to a machine with a computer component, which I did not want , but with a few decorative stitches. That is my 4618. Enough to play around with but no big deal look at the Value machines at and you might find what you want. I especially like the new machine for its overedge foot, which finished off the seas similar to a serger, but much easier for me.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 12:57PM
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